This. Is. It. Championship Week. The fantasy Super Bowl. The fake brawl for it all. It's time to separate the men (and women) from the boys (and girls). So let's stop screwing around and get right to it. To the matchups!
Analysis: The Falcons need a win to lock up the top seed in the NFC. The Lions have nothing to play for. Translation: start your Falcons. Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez should all be playmakers this week. Meanwhile, Michael Turner should post numbers right around his season average. As for Detroit's offense? There's Calvin Johnson. And then...well, no one you'd want to trust in a championship game.
Analysis: There's a good chance this could be a pretty high-scoring affair. Carson Palmer should shake off his recent slump with a decent, if not great, outing. Same goes for Darren McFadden, if he can survive four quarters. Cam Newton will continue to be a second-half Superman, benefitting Steve Smith once again. Newton's recent production has boosted DeAngelo Williams -- something that should be in play this weekend as well.
Analysis: If you believe in the "start your studs" rule, Drew Brees needs to be in your lineup. However, the return of Morris Claiborne makes Marques Colston a risky play. If you're feeling bold, you can play Saints WR roulette. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray is primed for a big day against New Orleans' run defense and Dez Bryant will continue to be an explosive option -- even with his injured finger.
Analysis: Chris Johnson has been hit-or-miss (mostly miss) much of the season, but here's a chance for him to be a fantasy factor. It might not be a 94-yard run, but Johnson could still approach 80 yards with a score this week. Beyond that, any other Titans are a big risk. Tennessee has been fairly good against the pass, but look for Aaron Rodgers to have a quality game nonetheless, taking advantage of having Randall Cobb and James Jones yet again. An opportunistic Packers defense is also a nice play this week.
Analysis: The matchup doesn't favor Adrian Peterson, but that shouldn't scare you from starting him. But anyone else in purple? You're better off staying away. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson have been hot recently. That should continue against Minnesota's secondary. Arian Foster's numbers haven't been what fantasy owners have hoped for, but it's hard to advocate benching him -- especially this week.
Analysis: One week after facing arguably the NFL's toughest defense, the Pats get to face the Jaguars. That's great news for Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Stevan Ridley and just about anyone else with red, white and blue on their helmet. Similarly, the Patriots' defense deserves consideration as a start this week. Look for Cecil Shorts to post decent numbers as a WR3 or flex play. Any other Jaguars are a risk.
Analysis: Here's another game that has the makings of a track meet. Andrew Luck is poised to spread the ball to Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, throwing at least a pair of touchdown passes. Vick Ballard should post close to 100 rushing yards. Expect the Chiefs to re-discover Jamaal Charles against a poor rushing defense. Brady Quinn's numbers will be better than they have been this season, but not good enough to start him. Same goes for his receivers.
Analysis: Ryan Fitzpatrick's disappointing season will continue as he'll post average (at best) totals this week. Stevie Johnson has struggled versus Miami in his career, which will continue this week. Start C.J. Spiller, even if the matchup isn't in his favor. Look for Ryan Tannehill to throw at least one TD pass this week while Reggie Bush touches the century mark in the absence of Daniel Thomas.
Analysis: This looks like another dip in the Philip Rivers rollercoaster. It won't help that the Chargers' running game is a mess with Ryan Mathews out for the year and Danario Alexander will be locked up with Antonio Cromartie. It's hard to recommend starting any San Diego players. Then again, I could say the exact same thing for the Jets. However, Shonn Greene might be worth a flex look if you're needing help.
Analysis: With Robert Griffin III expected back in action, he should be in fantasy lineups as well. That means big things for Pierre Garcon, who has been RG3's main target this season. Washington's defense is also a potential playmaker this weekend. The return of LeSean McCoy isn't necessarily reason for celebration since he has been used so inconsistently this season. Nick Foles isn't worth starting in a championship game and his receivers will continue to be mostly disappointing.
Analysis: This matchup is not a good one for Andy Dalton, but fantasy owners shouldn't let that discourage them from starting A.J. Green. Yes, Green was disappointing last week, but he's too much of a playmaker to set aside. The same goes for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has been one of the most productive fantasy RBs not named Peterson in recent weeks. Ben Roethlisberger is a low-end starting option this week and should get Mike Wallace heavily involved in the passing game. Wallace and Antonio Brown are both quality No. 2 options this week.
Analysis: Sam Bradford has played well recently and has big sleeper potential this week against the Bucs. That extends to Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens, who should both make plays in the passing game. Beware of Steven Jackson against one of the NFL's better run defenses. Josh Freeman won't be as bad as he was last week, but don't expect a big bounce back versus St. Louis. Doug Martin has taken you this far, don't bail on him now against an average run-stopping unit.
Analysis: Beware of Trent Richardson. His rushing totals have been mediocre for most of the season. If the Broncos keep him out of the end zone -- which is certainly possible -- he's a Week 16 bust. Looking for a sleeper at tight end? Consider Benjamin Watson this week. It should be business as usual for the Broncos. Start any Denver offensive players as you normall would, especially Knowshon Moreno, who has been red-hot over the past few weeks.
Analysis: This has the makings of a low-scoring affair. Jay Cutler is a very risky play against the Arizona secondary, but Brandon Marshall continues to be a must-start. Matt Forte has run the ball well lately and could see critical goal line touches with Michael Bush out. As for the Cardinals offense, can you find someone worthy of starting for you in a fantasy title game? I'll wait for your response...
Analysis: This is a matchup made for Ahmad Bradshaw (if he's able to suit up). If Bradshaw doesn't go, David Wilson isn't necessarily a lock for your fantasy lineup. Mental mistakes have landed him on the bench, opening chances for Kregg Lumpkin. Joe Flacco is a risk against a quality defense -- even at home. Ray Rice deserves a start...and a little prayer that Jim Caldwell remembers he's on the roster. Dennis Pitta's recent return to fantasy relevance should continue this week.
Analysis: Everything about this screams low-scoring, defensive matchup. Nonetheless, Colin Kaepernick found ways to succeed on the road against the Patriots and could do it again this week. Similarly, Russell Wilson has been a revelation at home this season and should be able to make plays, even against the vaunted Niners defense. Oh, and don't forget about Marshawn Lynch, either.
Follow Marcas Grant on Twitter @MarcasG